Pudgy and Les Stockton Collection

Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton played a central role in popularizing physical culture and exercise for women in the mid-Twentieth Century. She was born Abbye Eville on August 11, 1917, and lived most of her long life in Santa Monica, CA. In the late 1930s, she began working out with friends at Muscle Beach and quickly became famous for her rare combination of beauty, strength, and muscularity. Her husband, Les Stockton, who served in WWII, was also a member of the Muscle Beach community and later a gym owner. Pudgy Stockton was the author of “Barbelles,” a monthly column about weight training and women, that appeared in Strength and Health magazine  1944-1954.  The collection includes copies of “Barbelles” along with a large correspondence file related to that column.  Of particular importance and value in this collection is the large number of photographs, many of which are action photos of the incredible acrobatic stunts performed daily.

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